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Comment Shutting down vs spin-offs (Score 1) 23

Willow Garage is not so much shutting down, but rather being dismembered. You have Suitable Technologies, Industrial Perception, Open Perception, the Open Source Robotics Foundation, and Redwood Robotics as spin-offs (and I must be forgetting some). In my opinion, it never had a very good business plan in place (given the cost of the PR2 and its capabilities), but it does have the right open source attitude, which helped cement ROS as a standard in the robotics community.

Comment Re:Why is this news? (Score 5, Insightful) 85

From Wikipedia: "The Google-branded Android devices, the Nexus One, Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus, can be boot-loader unlocked by simply connecting the device to a computer while in boot-loader mode and running the Fastboot program with the command "fastboot oem unlock".[7] After accepting a warning the boot-loader will be unlocked so that a new system image can be written directly to flash without the need for an exploit."

Comment Another language you say? (Score 1) 897

How about mandarin or hindi? Even spanish would open a lot of job opportunities down south. I know, I know, some of you were mentioning not wanting shit jobs, but believe me, some of these places are not as bad as they seem in a struggling economy. And in terms of programming languages, you're probably good to go.

Comment Re:Let's hope NASA is better at math than TFA (Score 1) 231

You could do even better by putting a good part of the maglev track in a vacuum. This would allow frictionless acceleration and possibly allow you to achieve ludicrous speeds. Possibly subjecting the package to be launched to hypersonic wind fronts for a lesser period of time.The trick would be the transition zone though. Maybe an airlock that's programmed to open at the correct time?

And at that point, the hypersonic payload will literally crash into the thick atmosphere close to the ground. You could launch it along the side of the mountain or from inside a mountain to reduce the density of the atmosphere that you encounter when coming out of vacuum, but you'll still have significant technical challenges.

Comment Re:Let's hope NASA is better at math than TFA (Score 2, Interesting) 231

Accelerating up to supersonic speeds on a maglev track is quite problematic from a controls/stability perspective. The generated shock waves will bounce off of the ground/track creating some interesting ground effects which will mess up the launch unless properly controlled. I'm sure their proposal is to get the sled up to about Mach 1, at which point they'll be able to take off with a ramjet engine. Once they reach around Mach 5 in the atmosphere, they could transition into a scramjet configuration which can theoretically allow them to reach orbital speeds. This specific problem has been in NASA's mind for a number of years now. I used to work on this precise thing in collaboration with them around 5 years ago.

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